Jupiter Creek Farm CSA box

There’s no recipe involved in this post, this one’s about thing produce behind the cooking.

This week I got my first CSA box from Jupiter Creek Farm. What’s CSA you ask? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Essentially it’s a box for fruit and veg that comes direct form the farmers, no middle man (or 20) involved. In this case it comes from a farm called Jupiter Creek Farm. They grow a large chunk of what’s in the box and source the rest from other farmers. It’s all organic and local, and soo fresh. I like it for these reasons.

Yeah its more expensive than popping down to the supermarket and you don’t get to choose its contents but I like spend my shopping dollar in supporting local farmers and giving them a fair price for their produce as well as buying seasonally. It doesn’t provide all our fruit and veg needs but a least a fair chunk of them.

Back to the actual box. You pick it up from a local pick up point (PUP) and take it home to find out what’s inside. In this case there were

  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Permissions
  • Plums
  • Spring onions
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Sweet Corn

What did we do or will we do with the produce?

The Apples, Oranges and plums well these are eaten as they are, super fresh and delicious. The plums tasted like the ones we pick from our own tree, so full of flavour which you just don’t get from supermarket/shop bought ones. The permissions well I haven’t encountered them before so after a bit of research I’ve left them in the fruit bowl to ripen up where by I should be able to cut the tops off and eat them with a spoon.

The spring onions I’ll use them in place of onions where I can swap them around and probably make my favourite carb cheese combination – baked potatoes halved with the filling scooped out and mixed up with some grated cheese and sliced spring onions then this mixtures is popped back into the potato halves and some more grated cheese is sprinkled on top and browned in the oven – YUM

The spinach – well my husband doesn’t like it (read hates it) so it’s a bit hard to make a meal based around it but I generally treat it with love and respect and don’t over cook it. This morning it was lightly sautéed in butter with garlic and served with bacon and eggs.

The potatoes well they could be used above in the spring onion cheese carb fest or they will accompany a roast I’ll do later in the week.

The pumpkin is gorgeous, it was a variety I hadn’t seen before and after a bit of hunting around I was informed it was a heirloom French variety potimarron, best served baked. This will be roasted up to either accompany the roast or even just by itself or with olive oil and may some cumin seeds as cumin and pumpkin go so well together. I might even make some haloumi cheese as that also goes well with roasted pumpkin.

The onions well they could be used any number of ways and won’t go to waste.

The carrots were real proper carrots, funny shaped and all. They reminded me of the carrot s my grandfather used to grow where they weren’t all shaped perfectly and tasted so carroty (for lack of a better word). The carrots will in honestly probably just be eaten raw as a snack or otherwise included in the above mentioned roast, a stir fry or salad.

The celery well like the carrots will probably be snacked on and included in a stir fry or casserole or pasta sauce. That’s one of the things I love about celery you can just use it so many ways.

The sweet corn well I love sweet corn and could happily eat it just boiled and plain or another really good way is to remove the leaves and silk and rub some olive oil on it season with salt and pepper or rub some butter with lime zest grated into it and chilli and bbq it. However I think we will use these in corn fritters as it fits in well with the menu for this week.

For more info on Jupiter Creek Farm see here

Part of the In Her Chucks CSA link party

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Hot cross buns no. 2

I bake a lot, much more than the average person it would seem. I bake more than the average household should or even could eat, so what do I do with all this baking? Mainly I take it to work to share with my colleagues. It’s not that I want to load them up with butter and sugar or use them as test guinea pigs for my baking (well not all the time), it’s also the fact that there is something nice about bringing home baked goods, a way of saying thanks for putting up with my constant talking, my lack of attention to detail at times. I also particularly like the fact it makes people stop what they are doing and come to our work tea room and acquire some baking treat, and thus converse with their colleagues over non work stuff. If I ever own my own company I’m totally having daily morning teas and work kitchen fully stocked with baking supplies and a workplace cat, heated throw rugs, nanna naps… ok now I’m digressing.

But this like of sharing my baking with my colleagues is probably why I chose this recipe as recipe no. 2 in my great quest to bake the perfect soft hot cross buns (see here for history of the quest). It’s by Nigella, but she does the first lot of proving in the fridge overnight. This meant instead of getting up at like 4:30am to whip up a batch of hot cross buns to take to work I could start it the night before, take it out in the morning, shape it, prove it in the car on way to work, then bake at work. Which is what I did. And yet again the result whilst good wasn’t quite soft or fluffy enough

Let’s make hot cross buns (again)

There were whole spices and orange zest

Which then infused milk and melted butter

Of course there was yeast, more spices and fancy bread flour

and of course sultantas

kneaded by my fabulous dough hook

left to rise overnight in the fridge

And be shaped the next morning

And baked at work (because every respectable workplace should have an oven)

Hot cross buns – recipe adapted from Nigella Kitchen

FOR THE DOUGH:

150ml milk

50g butter

Zest of 1 orange

1 clove

2 cardamom pods

400g bread flour

2 teaspoon yeast

125g mixed dried fruit (I used just sultanas because that’s all I had)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1 egg

FOR EGG WASH:

1 egg, beaten with a little milk

FOR THE CROSS ON THE BUNS:

3 tablespoons plain flour

½ tablespoon caster sugar

2 tablespoons water

FOR THE SUGAR GLAZE:

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 tablespoon boiling water

Heat the milk, butter, orange zest, clove and cardamom pods in a saucepan until the butter melts, then leave to infuse (or cool as I over heated mine, you probably want it to be about blood temp when you add it to the dry ingredients)

Put the flour, yeast and dried fruit into a bowl and add the spices. When the milk is suitably infused and has reached blood temperature take out the clove and cardamom pods, and beat in the egg. Pour this liquid into dry ingredients.

Knead with a dough hook (or by hand if you don’t have a mixer with dough hook) if it is too dry add a little more warm milk or water. Keep kneading until you have silky, elastic dough

Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl covered with clingfilm, and leave to prove overnight in the fridge. You could leave it in a warm place to double for about 1- 1 1/2 hours instead of popping it in the fridge, but Nigella advises the flavour is better is you leave it to rise overnight in the fridge, plus it’s all ready to go in the morning when you wake up.

The next morning preheat oven to 220C. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.

Punch the dough down, and knead it again until it is smooth and elastic. Divide into even sized balls and shape into buns.

Sit the buns on a baking paper. Make sure they are quite close together but not touching. Using the back of a knife, score the tops of the buns with the imprint of a cross (good luck with this I always mangle the damn buns attempting this). Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove again for about 45 minutes – they should have risen and almost joined up.

Brush the buns with an egg wash, and then mix the flour, sugar and water into a smooth, thick paste. Using a teaspoon, dribble two lines over the buns in the indent of the cross, and then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

When the hot cross buns come out of the oven, mix the sugar and boiling water together for the glaze, and brush each hot bun to make them sweet and shiny.

Enjoy fresh from oven with real proper butter<!–

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